Dalengor pointed out the saboteur’s cell. Admiral Conso Forsorna was a Troll/Incubus Blender with a Lust Demon’s eyes, wings, horns, and tail. “Captain Royana,” he purred. “It’s an honor to be here.”
“Spare me, Admiral! We both know you’re stealing supplies!” hissed Arsha. His smile then vanished.
“All right, let’s do as you suggested and get straight to the interrogation!”
“You stole supplies from us!”
“To make sure you go along with the Council’s decision! Aldarval’s constructing a Realmgate behind our backs after we overrode her veto on keeping the Realms separate! Why?!” Dalengor snarled.
“You’re the one being-!” Arsha raised her hand to stop her.
“We’re gonna humor him and go through his interrogation.” She then turned to Conso. “We’re reconnecting the Realms one way or another and halting the Trinnies’ attempts to create their own.”
“Come on, they’re not that smart!”
“You’re underestimating the genius of their leaders! Dr. Borg probably looked at all the Realmgates, figured out the network, and decided to make her own when the old ones were destroyed!”
“I don’t underestimate her genius. You, on the other hand, overestimate her.”
“I most certainly do NOT! But, let’s forget about her for a minute and get to more important matters! Do you have any idea how many supply lines this irresponsible act has disrupted?! My own castle’s technology came from other Realms! Heating fuel from the Under-realm! Masonry from the Over-realm! Barely any Realm uses their own resources, we all made our money by exporting them!”
“We seem to be surviving just fine without the Realmgates! Our economies ARE still stable!”
“But for how long?! I know Dr. Borg! She’ll strike when our economies finally collapse! She’ll give us access to her own Realmgate network only if we bow to her! She adapts! Evolves! Destroying her is the only chance we have to survive and thrive!” Conso shut his eyes in annoyance.
“Given your history with Dr. Borg, I have a certain…sympathy for your desire to end her life. But I cannot condone the rebuilding of the Realmgates if it means the continuation of the Final War. Your crew is hereby ordered to halt your labors and begin taking what you’ve made apart so we can negotiate with the Realm Trinity Empire.”
“…I’m afraid negotiation is impossible, especially for me, Lardeth, Malnar, and our parents.”
“You lot won’t even try?!”
“Our Blood Contract forbids that.” Conso blinked.
“…You mean, that bit about the Blood Contract during your address to the Realms on the day your parents declared war? That was real?”
“I have the scar to prove it.” She showed off the back of her right hand to give Conso a good look at her signature scarred onto it. She continued her explanation. “It said that we would avenge Andwayla’s death by destroying the Realm Trinity Empire. If we try to negotiate with them, it would be considered reneging on the contract, and we’d lose our lives. We CAN’T negotiate with the Trinnies.” Conso looked at her in horror. “They worship Oyed, remember? He won’t rest until the Realms are destroyed. We HAVE to destroy him and his followers to survive, meaning we need to be more aggressive.”
“Well, you just left me with a horrid choice,” growled Conso, “whether to stop you and let you die to save the Realms or to allow you to continue this fruitless war you, your lovers, and respective parents started!”
“I don’t know if you fully understand,” replied Arsha, “but an Under-realm ruler was killed, an Over-realm ruler was wounded, and those acts took place in the Mid-realm. Andwayla Narven introduced methods that helped us hunt down Splitters in record time; her assassin, Yamta, spat on those contributions by killing her! If you were in our position-!”
“Arsha, you don’t need to explain yourself!” urged Dalengor. Arsha didn’t stop.
“If you were in our position, Sir, you would do the same.”
“…I’m not in your position, though. I can’t even BEGIN to imagine your thought process on the eve of the War! You lot may have found a way to ignore the exhaustive implications of combat, but I have no such luxury! I don’t have the freedom to kill you to save the Realms! We’ve long agreed that such an act is reprehensible and entirely unacceptable! If the end of the Realms was farther off, I would have your parents executed and you and your fellows forced to give up your claims to your respective thrones, but Aldarval will surely veto that and we couldn’t amass the necessary voices to overturn her veto, and I am NOT prepared to keep you locked up forever! So I see no alternative…but to be the single “no” vote when we decide on keeping the Realmgates closed forever and to allow you to continue with your work on rebuilding the Realmgates.”
“…Very well,” sighed Arsha. “Dalengor, let him go.”
“That’s an order.” Dalengor hesitated, then she keyed in a command on the console and lowered the energy field on Conso’s cell. He then stepped out of the cell and turned to leave, then he turned back to Arsha.
“Take a message to the All-realm Royals and Aldarval,” he hissed, “I will be monitoring you lot VERY closely. If I EVER find out that you intend to prolong this war, I won’t hesitate in taking aggressive action against you all! If the Final War doesn’t end by this year, you, Lardeth, and Malnar are to surrender your claims to your respective thrones! Is that clear?!” Arsha nodded, then Conso left.
“You can’t agree to that!” hissed Dalengor. “We need YOU to rule the Mid-realm! Wasn’t it your dream to marry your lovers and unite the Realms?!”
“I received a report a day ago,” explained Arsha. “Eltan’s group of renegade Revenants found out that the Trinnies betrayed Oyed and weakened him as well as all the Divine Ones. Right now, Dr. Borg’s forces are manageable. I have a good feeling we WILL win the Final War before the year’s out.”
“That’s three months out though!”
“Then we’ll win in three months. I can see it now, all of Rokanth going through a five-day victory vice…oh Depths, what was I thinking?!”
“That must be why Mom and Dad smoked! Seeing me again allowed for a victory vice! …Depths, I was rude! I gotta go take care of something!” She immediately dashed towards her quarters.